Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Tracy Bonham’s “Mother Mother” is freezing to death but everything’s fine

Bonham in the video for "Sharks Can't Sleep"

In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This week, in celebration of Mother’s Day, we’re picking songs about moms—or that have a mom-related word in their titles.

Tracy Bonham, “Mother Mother” (1996)

I was never really into Tracy Bonham, but being a child of mid-’90s alt-rock radio, I know every single word to “Mother Mother,” the singer’s breakout 1996 single. A track from Bonham’s debut LP, The Burdens Of Being Upright, “Mother Mother” was a relative smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart. With lyrics ostensibly ripped from a daughter’s simultaneously mundane and insane call to her mother, the track’s not exactly rocket science. Still, lines like “I’m freezing, I’m starving, I’m bleeding to death, everything’s fine!” are both catchy and semi-revelatory, especially for listeners who, like most everyone in the world, have a bit of a complicated relationship with their parents. As adults, we choose to reveal what we want to them, be that information about our salaries, our sexual histories, our credit card debt, our benders, whatever. They told us what they wanted while we were growing up, and now we can choose to give that right back. A good back and forth would be ideal, of course, but we do what we want. We might not see or even talk to our parents every day, but we’re their kids. They made us who we are, and in us, they see reflections of themselves, for better or for worse.


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